Somehow it seems that another year has passed and once again Halloween has dawned on us. My ears and eyes have already been assaulted by slurred words, screams and stumbling witches and ghosts. If it sounds like Halloween isn’t exactly the highlight of my year, that’s because it isn’t. The pressure and idolisation of intoxicated infamy, the shaming of celebratory abstinence and the concept of dressing up all inevitably culminate in a day that does, ironically, terrify me.
It seems like on rare annual events, for which puerile and unjustified happiness is obligatory, society is given a free pass. In a fashion reminiscent of the Purge films, it seems that Halloween has become a day of legitimised appropriation, sexualisation and discrimination, with the added flourish of inebriated perversity. The night is no less than a parade of insults and ridicule showcased through costumes of drag queens, minorities or literally anything you can think of sexualising.
Although much less common nowadays, black face has sadly not died, and is now accompanied by costumes of geishas, Muslims and indigenous peoples. Likewise, men dressing up as women to be funny entirely undermines and ridicules the artistry, talent and importance of drag culture. Moreover, and perhaps most unsurprisingly, women are sexually targeted by this tradition. It’s no secret that Halloween is a day when women dress in ‘more suggestive’ outfits – a term that makes me physically recoil. Nurses, policewomen, teachers and animals are amongst the plethora of the victims of hyper-sexualisation. Not only is this unapologetically demeaning and degrading, but when did dogs, cats and bunnies become universal sex symbols? The scariest part of Halloween is the inherent sexism and social pressure placed upon women to dress in a certain way.
There are undoubtably some glaringly obvious problems emphasised by this day of celebration. It’s almost as if Halloween is a day of epitomising and subsequently disregarding some of the fundamental flaws of our society. Not only that, but a lack of originality has accompanied the rise in misguided attempts at comedy or looking attractive. Halloween should be a chance for self-expression, a time to dress as a heightened and exaggerated version of yourself. Why do we all waste that opportunity to dress as poor representations of someone else?
This time, when you choose your outfit, ask yourself why you have chosen it. Then ask yourself if it’s offensive to anyone, and if you even slightly question it then it’s probably not okay.